Living in the UPSIDE DOWN

 

Life was not meant to be like this.

It is a dark shadow of things to come. We may have become accustom to the world around us but we have been made for another place. No wonder people feel like there is something wrong with this world… there is! A great proof of that is how the innocent are corrupted over time.

It’s a lot like the Upside Down in the Netflix Original, Stranger Things. Here is a Biblical view of the similarities and some hope…

Expelled from the garden

The upside down is an alternate reality; a wasteland. Compared to the garden of our creation, this world is not that paradise. Compared to the place Jesus is preparing for those who love him this place is a nightmare!

The Bible teaches that we are living in exile.  Genesis 3 says, “So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

If we struggle with depression, disease, and stress, it’s because we live in the upside down. Our hearts long for a better place. Make sure you get this right though. God didn’t do this. We did!

 A Diseased and Damaged World

Since that time we exist in an imperfect decaying world. Even the world knows it. “All of creation groans for deliverance. The Bible explains: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Romans 8:22 We contribute to the wasteland by polluting it with sin. We are witnessing the results of sin upon the planet. It fills the world with darkness and decay.

Walking Blind

If things seem bleak, it’s because a fog of blindness covers the eyes of most of humanity. Paul taught that “if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God”. (2 Corinthians 4:3,4) (And not to mix different series, but it also makes most of humanity the walking dead!)

Always Dark

The world is in darkness. Like an eclipse. It is a dark approximation of what God intended. Things almost look real but it is a gray scale shadow version of the place God is preparing for us. Jesus could see it so clearly. He said, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (John 3:20-21)

Something Hunts You

It’s not just a dark place. There are dangers in the upside down. It is not a safe place; not even for the ones who have the light! There is something hunting us. Some are taken captive. Others are completely devoured. Be on your guard. The Bible warns, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8,9) Not to scare you but most kids who grew up in the light leave it for the darkness before they hit college… Put everything into your relationship with Christ. It might just save your soul.

A Glimpse of Something Better

While we are here trying to rescue others in the Upside Down, we sometimes make a connection with that better place. God shares himself with us in the person of the Holy Spirit, (Ephesians 1:14) who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. And, while we are here he has marked us for the better place. “He set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, … and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts. (2 Corinthians 1:22)

That’s good to know but why doesn’t he take us out of this dark, dangerous place? Jesus put it this way,  “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-

Already but Not Yet

Not every human lives without seeing anything of the Right-side UP. “We see through a glass darkly.” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV Sadly, the view of God is clouded. From here he may not seem as good, as brilliant, powerful, and spectacular –Remember the reason is because we are living in the upside down! And put your hope in this, he also says in the same breath, “we will see him face to face” It’s weird. We are already rescued but we are not yet in the right side up!

A Whole New World

There will be a new heaven and a new earth. The upside down is going to go. One of Jesus disciples Peters said that the upside down is going to burn up. God is going to completely floor us with a spectacular new existence. It is described in a vision of the future..then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

Rev 21:1 If you want to get a picture of this this right side up world you can look at what the Bible says about it.

Jesus lives in the right side up and has come to rescue us.

The Lord knows how difficult life in the upside down has been. He knows the level of PTSD it is going to leave us with. He wants to remove every trace of this place that could harm us throughout eternity. The book of Revelation promises that he will “Wipe away every tear.” We will live life as it was meant to be. Here’s what the Bible says it will be like when we get out of the Upside Down.

“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

So don’t lose heart. In the upside down there will be trouble. But don’t doubt, Jesus has overcome the Demigordon –he has over come the world!

How to Use This

You can use this as a Bible Study or part of a message you are sharing with youth. It could be on an outreach night on a small group night. You’d need to come up with a good intro and some good questions to get students talking.

It may seem a bleak picture of this world but compared to heaven, this world is like a grays scale photo of what’s going on in the place that Jesus went to prepare for us.

Hope you can use some part of this somehow. Let me know what you think!

Blessings,

Ron

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Ron Powell

ronpowell

Ron Powell is the Adviser to the Director of the Youth Ministry Institute at Vanguard College. He has been involved in youth ministry for over 30 years. He continues to volunteer, write, teach, and speak to parents, leaders and teens. If you would like to contact him you can email ron.powell@vanguardcollege.com